Near Protocol is a multi-chain solution that is developed parallel to Ethereum, Cosmos, and Polkadot ecosystems. Near is focussing on creator economy, multi-chain solutions with the prime narrative of building a new internet that is privacy focussed, non-censored, and scalable.
Near raised its initial seed funding through Y-Combinator raising $50 Million in 4 months whilst being in the initial planning stages. This could only mean that Near showed some great features at its core that really encouraged investments despite a bearish market.
There is a lot of subject matter to discuss here but let's understand why the Near protocol is different than other blockchains by reviewing the fundamentals and features precisely, whilst most are in limited availability as the development is still progressive.
Near uses Delegated proof of stake consensus (DPoS) which they dub as NightShade. DPoS is the same network consensus that will be used in the next version of Ethereum. Nightshade consensus is modified proof of Stake which includes sharding and peculiar block production techniques.
This consensus runs on validators nodes, these validators are somewhat similar to node operators in the Komodo platform except for the network consensus. The similarity is that both of these networks used electorial methods to elect miners or validators.
The validator has the right amount of computer hardware (Pow consensus) or coins stake (POS consensus) mounted on the pole needed to make the network stronger and more efficient.
In a delegated consensus a user gives rights to perform the necessary operations to Validators that have a safe sum of coins staked to ensure network safety. Users simply delegate their powers to validators that are allowed to process the blockchain operations such as creating new blocks and validating ledgers.
This is a really smart consensus because the demand and supply for validators are variable whilst ensuring better transaction throughput and fee. Proof of stake makes hardware and energy redundant or only used when needed in order for Near blockchain to operate making it eco-friendly, fast and really dynamic, and scalable.
Near protocol has said to have TPS (transaction per second speed) of up to 100,000 transactions per second. This remarkable speed is possible due to the architecture of the blockchain and network sharding.
Near blockchain uses network shard structures to make transaction throughput really fast and their block generating technique also contributes to the network speed. The network only checks the state of a shard rather than the entire shard itself.
To understand the speed of the network we also need to understand the block generation technique in Near protocol. Near uses the Doomslug mechanism to generate blocks.
Doomslug mechanics allows the network to achieve certainty after just one network confirmation instead of multiple confirmations to reach a decision. Similarly, a transaction is irreversible after just one confirmation and will continue building blocks as long as more than half of the validators are online.
The importance of blockchain interconnectivity is primal in the success and onboarding of users towards the DEFI world. We saw the importance of interoperability in bridges and how important these bridges are towards the progression of cryptocurrencies, DEFI, and DAO on a scale FIAT and traditional finance are on today.
Near protocol has aimed to be an interoperable blockchain and scalable blockchain from its core. They have built a layer-2 smart contract called Aurora.
Aurora provides EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatibility and Near scalability to build applications on the Near protocol. It is safe and easy to assume it is an EVM for Near protocol. The development experience is as simple as Ethereum with Near's speed and scalability.
Aurora claims to have remarkable speeds and almost zero transactions fees. The projects compatible with Aurora will have a block time of a second or less with little to no fees of @0.02 per transaction. Exposing these figures to other blockchains will leave you in awe of the Near protocol.
The rainbow bridge is also a big contributor to the interoperability of Near protocol. The rainbow bridge is a native bridge that helps users transfer assets between Ethereum and Near protocol.
Near protocol has a primary token for the network called Near. Near created 1 Billion tokens which were distributed privately and publically in different rounds of sale. The general emission type is inflationary with a fixed inflation rate.
Overall 70% of the gas fee earned will be burned and the remaining 30% will be distributed to the smart contracts involved in the transactions (if any).
This is something new and appealing for developers willing to write smart contracts on the near blockchain. There is a 30% return on the transaction fee for each smart contract call to the contract owner. This will attract quality developers and organizations to the near protocol.
Near holders can store 10KB of data for each Near token they hold on the blockchain. This allows better distribution of incentives amongst network validators. This can also be a future for enterprise ledgers on blockchain as it is a more secure means of data storage.
Near protocol is really ambitious to make DAO (Decentralized Autonomous organizations) a reality hence they have a forum to ensure governance within their network as well, any changes within the network are implemented if they are supported by the community.
A huge onboarding problem can be solved with human-readable addresses such as komodefi.near instead of a 0x address which is considered hefty by non-technical users.
ENS (Ethereum Name Service) was the first to achieve this but needs a yearly fee to make your own human-readable address. This feature is native and free in the Near Protocol.
This feature might be uninvolved when exposed to other great achievements being made by the Near protocol, but it will solve a huge onboarding issue and provide blockchain identities for individuals and organizations.
Near is an hot gossip in the DEFI world these days with a lot to come as full availability is ensured soon, investors and developers are on alert to adapt and scale the network respectively. The crypto communities also seem to be interested in the Near protocol as it keeps unfolding.
The developer documentation is available in multiple languages with guides from running a node to creating a smart contract. The code repository is also public while the core protocol is developed on RUST which is also the main programming language while working with smart contracts.